The distraught socialites on the catwalk of Interior’s debut show looked ready to crack. Their frenetic gait (perfected by movement coach Julia Crockett), distressed hemmed suits, and the way they grab the thighs of their pants and dresses so they don’t touch the floor came together to paint a portrait of glamorous angst. A coterie of escaped victims of Patrick Bateman.
Or, make escaped Edward Rochester victims like Bertha Mason and her ilk lifelong inspirations for designers Lily Miesmer and Jack Miner. “She probably just has anxiety, and they’re like, ‘You’re hysterical, go live in the attic.'” Miesmer said backstage. Distress — both mental and physical — was a driving force in the show, until the Pixies hit “Where Is My Mind” played during the finale. Miesmer and Miner still found plenty of ways to riff on Park Avenue princess basics: shirt dresses (but with voluminous trains), cozy cashmere sweaters (but with a frayed fit), double-breasted suits ( but with raw edges and flying strands of fabric on the hems) and ballet flats (but the ones used by ballerinas, from Miesmer’s favorite dance shop). Classic, almost preppy richness is at the heart of Miesmer and Miner’s designs, but this season there was something rotten underneath, and they’d take that as a compliment.
“This is how the particularity has manifested itself this season. In the past, it was embroidery and embellishment; this season it was destruction,” Miner said. “There is audacity in destroying the finest fibers of cotton, yarn, cashmere and layers of muslin and lace,” Miesmer added, referring to how she and Miner brought power tools and brushes straddling textiles to give them the exact right effect. It’s not my jeans that just got ripped, but “lived in an unhealthy way,” according to Miesmer. That said, they tried to figure out where to stop to keep it appealing to a luxury clientele; few people want to buy something totally destroyed, and brands in the past have been mocked for walking too close to that line.
There are elements that went a bit too far and therefore felt tied to the indie sleaze revival, including a ripped red t-shirt and skinny lace-up pants. However, Miesmer – who lived through this era in New York – quickly distanced Interior from this idea and the characters that defined the era. “I think it’s so problematic and it was a terribly difficult time for fashion and in New York,” she said. “But the lovely elements of indie sleaze for me is reusing things like riding boots and ballet flats and wearing them.”
The fun inside is how they twist the prissy, stuffy, and basic. Their first collection was filled with clothes that would look at home at a dinner party, but since then Miner and Miesmer have gradually added a sinister undercurrent. A strapless pink ruched cotton jersey top with a cotton gauze skirt is a great example. It could have been worn by one of Degas’s models, but the hem is more discreet than the top, suggesting frequent wear, and the belt is turned down. She’s not a prima ballerina; she’s the last one standing in a horror movie. Good for her.